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Nordstrom’s nixing of Ivanka Trump brand backed by sales data, reports WSJ

By Janet I. Tu The Seattle Times

Nordstrom, which has said its decision to drop the Ivanka Trump line was based on business rather than politics, reportedly saw sales of that line drop by a third over the last fiscal year, and even more precipitously in the weeks before the election.

The Wall Street Journal this weekend cited internal Nordstrom data in reporting that sales of the Ivanka Trump fashion line slid 32 percent last fiscal year, and plunged more than 70 percent in the second through fourth weeks of October, compared to a year earlier.

Nordstrom did not provide the data and would not confirm it, The Journal said.

The Seattle-based retailer said last Wednesday that “over the past year, and particularly in the last half of 2016, sales of the brand have steadily declined to the point where it didn’t make good business sense for us to continue with the line for now.”

Like other retailers carrying Ivanka Trump merchandise, it had been the subject of boycott efforts by Trump critics.

Nordstrom’s decision to stop carrying the brand for now escalated into a national kerfuffle last week after President Donald Trump tweeted that the retailer had treated his daughter “so unfairly.” His press secretary, Sean Spicer, followed that up by calling Nordstrom’s move a “direct attack” on the president’s policies, while Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, exhorted viewers to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff” during her appearance on Fox News – prompting criticism that she appeared to have violated federal ethics rules.

According to the Journal, Nordstrom’s sales of Ivanka Trump items totaled $14.3 million for the fiscal year ended in January, down from $20.9 million for the previous year.

And apparently Nordstrom wasn’t the only one.

According to market research firm Slice Intelligence, Ivanka Trump’s brand saw online sales fall 26 percent year-over-year across a number of retailers in January. The back half of 2016 also saw online sales declines for the brand at Nordstrom, Zappos and Amazon.

However, online sales of the brand grew at Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, according to Slice’s data, which analyzed emailed consumer receipts for about 10,000 online shoppers.

At Nordstrom, Slice’s data showed a 10 percent growth for the Ivanka Trump brand in the first quarter of last year, and then subsequent declines of 5 percent, 7 percent, and 63 percent over the next three quarters.

A Nordstrom spokeswoman declined to comment on Slice’s figures.

Meanwhile, more retailers have joined those dropping some Trump family-branded items. Sears and Kmart said on Saturday that they’ve removed 31 Trump Home items from their online offerings in order to focus on more profitable items, according to Reuters.

Sears gave more context for its decision in a corporate blog post Monday.

“We, like all retailers, constantly add and remove products from our offerings. In this case, certain products were removed from our websites that included a very small number of Trump products,” wrote Chris Brathwaite, Sears’ vice president for corporate communications.

But customers can still find and buy hundreds of Trump or Ivanka Trump items on the company’s website, being sold by third-party marketplace sellers, Brathwaite wrote.